Marie Antoinette Online

January10th

60 Comments

Fac_simil_du_collier_de_la_ReineHow did the French Revolution begin? With the fall of the Bastille. Similarly – How did the American Revolution begin? – With shots fired at Lexington and Concord.

Those are the stock answers, but neither marked the first act of open defiance against the crown. Americans would say the Boston Tea Party or Boston Massacre or Stamp Act riots marked that.

Frenchman may say the erosion of royal authority that overthrew France’s social order began with the Estates General in 1789, but before that the first event to both rock the foundation of monarchy and also display open defiance of royal authority was the “Diamond Necklace Affair” or the “Affair of the Queen’s Necklace”.

 

This article retells the story of the diamond necklace affair. This story that launched the French Revolution was one of the most notorious public scandals of history. It involved great fortunes made and lost, of avarice, mystery and intrigue, it pits great forces in French society against each other, but in the end severely damaged the monarchy to the great detriment of both, and destroyed for all time the reputation of the second highest public figure in the French monarchy. The story starts with three players; the first is that famous public figure – the Queen of France: Marie Antoinette. This story had its root cause, its currency and appeal from this most star-crossed figure of French history.

The Queen

Marie Antoinette was an Austrian Princess when she came to France, at age 15, in 1770, to marry the Crown Prince. She and husband Louis XVI were still teenagers when they ascended the throne in 1774. Unlike her shy awkward husband, Marie Antoinette was admired for her legendary beauty, grace and elegance and her tastes which set fashion trends for Europe. She took pride in her appearance and in her ancestry as a princess of Hapsburg, the oldest royal house of Europe. Her arrogance brought resentment from old nobility of France, a country which had been at war with Austria for much of the 18th century. Marie Antoinette also attracted gossip for her inability (due to Louis’s impotence) to become pregnant and produce an heir to the throne, for her youthful disregard of court etiquette, and for her frivolous and costly lifestyle. This lifestyle included gambling, masked balls, late night rendezvous and rumours of her having had numerous love affairs with both men and women. Even by 1785, an underground literature existed that reviled the Queen in pornographic songs, pictures and pamphlets.

Much of Marie’s fast and loose behaviour in her first decade in France was a reaction to her marital frustration; but in 1778, Louis had an operation and the couple at last had children. By 1785, Marie Antoinette had given birth to three children. She was maturing and her lifestyle had grown far more sedentary and less extravagant. But that change was hardly noticeable to the uninformed public and did little to assuage those who had already developed their dislike for her.

The Nobleman

Against this backdrop in 1784, enter the two key players in the story – one, a great nobleman, the other, a woman swindler who dupes him. The nobleman Louis René Édouard de Rohan was Cardinal of France and son of one of its oldest and most famous noble houses. However, Rohan had a problem. He was in disfavour at the French court. The Queen’s mother Marie Thérèse did not like Rohan, frivolous dandy, when he served as a diplomat to Austria. After her mother scorned him, Marie Antoinette refused to receive Rohan and had not even spoken to him for a number of years. For 10 years, Rohan had longed to become a member of the Queen’s close circle, with the new favours and patronage that could bring. Rohan, the dandy, was also attracted by the Queen’s beauty and fancied that if she would only admit him to her circle, he too might partake in her amorous favours, of the type frequently rumoured in court.

The Swindler

The woman swindler is the Countess de Lamotte. She was the daughter of the old and famous Valois family, but the family has long-lost its resources. She was quite impoverished when she arrived in Paris. But Lamotte was also quite attractive and brazen in her desire to escape poverty and obtain an aristocratic life of comfort and leisure. She sought to enlist the sympathy of the royal court in the fate of a woman from one of France’s old houses. She was given to fainting spells at court and in doing this has at last receives notice from Madame Elizabeth, the King’s sister who provided her with some funding. She was also noticed by Cardinal Rohan. By 1784, she had become his mistress. Even though she had not succeeded in obtaining the interest or support of the Queen or even met the Queen, Lamotte succeeded in convincing Cardinal Rohan that she has the favour of Marie Antoinette. Rohan fully subscribed to the tales in court circles of Marie Antoinette’s sexual dissipation. Using her full figure and attractive looks to great effect, Lamotte spun stories that convinced Rohan that she, Lamotte, was becoming one of the Queen’s new lesbian love interests, just as Rohan hoped to become her lover as well.

The Necklace

Now enters the object all seek – the necklace. The necklace was 2800 carats. First was a choker of seventeen diamonds, five to eight carats each; from that hung a three-wreathed festoon and pendants; then came the necklace proper, a double row of diamonds cumulating in an eleven-carat stone.  And finally, hanging from the necklace, four knotted tassels. It cost 1,600,000 lives. Perhaps in today’s currency, this is the equivalent of $100 million. The jeweller Charles Bohmer had the beautiful necklace made for Madame du Barry. But Louis XV died, du Barry was banished from court, and Bohmer placed his hopes on the new Queen to purchase the necklace. She modelled it before her ladies, but would not purchase it or permit Louis to buy it as a gift for her. “Better to buy a new ship of the line (battleship or aircraft carrier equivalent) than to spend such a sum on a necklace, regardless of how beautiful …” she said.

The Opportunity

Boehmer too had seen Lamotte at court. Like Rohan, the jeweller too believed the Marie Antoinette rumours at court. The jeweller appreciated Lamotte’s looks, believed she had the Queen’s favour and sought her out as an intermediary. Knowing Rohan’s keen desire to obtain the Queen’s favour, Lamotte saw her opportunity to trade on the belief of both men in her intimacy with the Queen to satisfy the desires of both men and enrich herself. She told the cardinal that the Queen wanted him to secretly purchase the necklace on her behalf. The cardinal obtained the necklace from Bohmer and gave it to Mme Lamotte, expecting the Queen to pay for it. Of course, Marie Antoinette never saw the necklace. Lamotte gave the diamonds to her husband, who took them to London and sold them. Lamotte forged letters from the Queen to Rohan attesting to her interest in the necklace, approving the plan and Lamotte’s role, and indicating Rohan could expect return to the Queen’s favour

The Rendezvous

The letters satisfied Rohan for a time, but at Versailles, Marie Antoinette ignored Rohan as always. He wanted a real sign of her interest in him. Rohan needed more and it was at this moment in the gardens of the Palais Royal in Paris the final piece to her puzzle fell in place. It came in the form of a 25-year old street-walker, Madame d’Olivia.  Buxom and blonde, with an arrogant strut, such that people called her “Queen”. Lamotte was at once captivated by the young d’Olivia’s striking resemblance to 29-year old Marie Antoinette. And so, Cardinal Rohan did get the sign of favour he wanted from the Queen… or so he thought. On a summer night in 1784, Lamotte outfitted the woman in a lawn dress, the same as the famous Marie Antoinette “en gaulle” painting then on exhibit. The veiled woman briefly met the Cardinal in the gardens of Versailles, late at night as Antoinette was rumoured to meet her lovers. The false Queen gave the Cardinal a rose. She said, “All may be forgiven …” and hurried away, leaving the Cardinal under the illusion that he had met Marie Antoinette.

The Confrontation

Unaware of the real drama unfolding, Marie Antoinette was busy preparing herself for the part of the saucy barmaid Rosina in the controversial play Marriage of Figaro. On the day of one her rehearsals Boehmer’s invoice for the necklace arrived and was discarded by the Queen. Later, Bohmer came to Versailles and spoke to the Queen’s servant Madame Campan, seeking payment. He displayed forged letters signed by her, and told how Rohan was involved in acquiring the necklace. At last, Marie Antoinette realized the serious of the case, and summoned Bohmer to Versailles. She was furious with Rohan, so was Louis XVI. The royal couple demanded a trial. They arranged for the arrest of the Cardinal, the highest clergyman in France, in the most public way, handing him the arrest warrant in the great hall of Versailles with hundreds present. He was brought before the King and Queen, who confronted him with the swindle and would hear none of his professions of innocence and that he too had been made the fool.

The Trial

The public arrest of the Cardinal of France had already caused a national sensation, and the acts of King and Queen that followed added new fuel to the fire of public interest and imagination. That this nobleman with whom she had not spoken a word in 15 years would dare to presume that she, Marie Antoinette, would meet him at a secret rendezvous, was a serious insult to her name and reputation. The proud Queen demanded public vindication of her good name. The matter could have been handled quietly at the court or by the Vatican. Louis’s advisors suggested caution, but the wavering King agreed to a public trial before the Parlement of Paris. France of 1785 was not used to such public events. While rumours of Marie’s errant behaviour were prevalent in the capital, they now became sensation for all of France. The charge against the Cardinal was lese-majeste, insult to the dignity of the Queen. For months, the nation was gripped by the mystery of the diamond necklace and the recounting of the Queen’s reputation that led Rohan to believe she had participated. The public was riveted by the accounts and characters, the swindler Lamotte, the prostitute who impersonated the Queen, the $100 million necklace at stake at a hard time when the country faced bankruptcy. Through it all, Lamotte held to her story that the Queen was behind it all and had the necklace.

The Verdicts

The case to defend the Queen’s dignity would never have been easy. Though she never appeared, this case put the life of Marie Antoinette was on trial. Many jurors could believe based on her past spending and loose lifestyle that Marie Antoinette was capable of these activities and that the Cardinal was reasonable in his beliefs. The Cardinal struck a sympathetic figure as he pleaded his devotion to the Queen and that he only sought to serve her. But this was no ordinary court, it was a court of nobles in Paris, where Rohan was a great and wealthy family, where many had been at odds with the King and many more still resented the Queen. Add to that considerable sums were passed in bribery by the Duc of Orleans and other disaffected noblemen. The trial ended with the Cardinal acquitted of the charge of lese-majeste. Lamotte was found guilty as a thief and imprisoned. She was also publicly flogged, and branded. As she struggled against the branding iron, the poker slipped and impaled her breast. Lamotte hurled imprecations for all to hear: “It is the Queen who should be branded not me!”

The Uproar

The night of the verdict, against constable’s advice, Marie Antoinette attended a charitable benefit at the Paris Opera. When the verdict “Rohan Acquitted” was announced, the opera house erupted with applause. The crowds then whistled and hooted at the Queen, who left in dismay to weep at Versailles with her ladies in waiting. Repudiation of a French sovereign by court verdict and public rebuke had never before occurred. The Revolution had now begun. Within the year, Lamotte escaped to London. With her husband they enjoyed the money from the diamond necklace, now broken up, but she also took to the quill to spread malicious rumours about Marie Antoinette.

The Libels

Pamphlets by Lamotte of new stories of Antoinette’s sexual appetites and orgies at Versailles, and her claimed love letters between Rohan and the Queen became a new sensation in France as they were smuggled in by the thousands. The court literature against Marie Antoinette in the capital, by virtue of the necklace case, had now become commonplace throughout France. The economic position of the country worsened and King Louis, who drew closer to Marie in her sorrows, increasingly turned to her for advice in economic matters. The Queen’s increasing role and national disgrace weakened the position of Louis and the monarchy. Her presence galvanised and emboldened the opponents of the regime.

The Revolution

Revolution could have been averted in France after the necklace case, just as it could have been averted in America after the Boston Tea Party, but a course of action had been set in motion. The monarchy was humbled by the noblemen in court and people, all done with impunity. Going forward, the opponents of the regime, first among the nobles then later among the merchants and finally in the peasantry took heed and didn’t let up until the final violent overthrow of the French monarchy and the Terror among its citizens that followed. The nobles who sought to check Louis’s power and others like Phillipe Egalite who resented the King, came to be caught up themselves in the whirlwind of Revolution. That Revolution would claim the lives of thousands of nobleman including Phillipe, and end the privileges nobles had held in France. This was not what the nobles intended when they sought to vindicate Rohan and strike a blow against the King and Queen.

The Reversal

When Marie Antoinette learned of the necklace affair, she instinctively insisted on a public trial to avenge the offence to her honour and dignity. No one could have imagined how her act of hubris would trigger the catastrophic upheaval of Revolution in the 7 years that followed. In 1786, Madame Lamotte was imprisoned and branded; Rohan was acquitted at trial but forced from his Cardinal post to a remote posting. Marie Antoinette sat on her throne, still the glamorous powerful Queen of France, meeting out punishment to those who dared transgress her honour. In 7 years time, the Revolution would reverse the positions of the three players in this story. In 1793, Lamotte who had escaped her prison lived in comfort in England. The fortune she and her husband shared from the necklace was enhanced by the amounts made from the sales in France of her best-selling pamphlets against the Queen. Lamotte had become a hero of the Revolution. In 1793, Rohan too was living in comfort in exile. In the early years of Revolution, he returned in triumph and was elected to the Assembly. But Rohan saw the violent turn of revolution against the nobility and clergy including his family. Rohan escaped France to live out his life in a comfortable exile.

The World Upside Down

In the ultimate role reversal, the hunter became the prey. 1793 saw the final destruction of Marie Antoinette – humbled, humiliated and finally beheaded by her own subjects. The years of Revolution took everything away from Marie – her palaces, her jewels, her servants, her fine clothes, her friends and her family. Gone was her beauty and finery in which she took such pride and all the other trappings of her once fabulous life. In the end, Marie Antoinette was alone. She was taken from her prison cell, as a poor broken widow in her rags, old before her time. Now, it was SHE who would be the prisoner in the dock. SHE would have to answer the charges of the revolutionary tribunal, including the necklace case allegations of Madame Lamotte.

The Queen Beheaded

These charges still rang in her ears in the jeers of the crowd as Marie Antoinette road to her date with Madame Guillotine. The former Queen now rode in an open cart, her hands tied behind her back, and held in tether like a chained dog. Lamotte must have relished the irony that 7 years after she was flogged, branded and humiliated, 7 years after Lamotte swore vengeance, it was the turn of her tormentor to face punishment – Marie Antoinette was beheaded at age 37, her fair head held high for the populace to cheer her death. Such was the pendulum swing of great French Revolution, first set in motion by the case of the Queen’s necklace.

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60 Comments

  • Comment by mckenzie — October 12, 2009 @ 6:18 PM

    Marie Antoinette is the most interesting person to learn about for me. (besides Bob Marley) I always am so fascinated by her life and story, no matter how many times I read it, through different versions and such. But this version was most definitely the best, because it was so detailed and extremely accurate. So thank you for providing this, it helped my research paper tremendously.

  • Comment by Susan — October 16, 2009 @ 7:41 AM

    Awesome post… and great insights on the whole thing. I too find Marie Antionette one of the most fascinating figures… so tragic and maligned.

    I’m not writing a paper, but I do find history fascinating and thank you for such a well researched and easy to understand account.

    Great job,
    Sue

  • Comment by Valerie — October 19, 2009 @ 7:16 PM

    this really helped me with my research paper!!! thanks so much :)

  • Comment by erica — November 3, 2009 @ 6:20 PM

    I just visited the smithsonian to see the Hope Diamond in person and it is absolutely GORGEOUS. This whole thing with me wanting to see it was watching that movie about the affair of the necklace and how the french blue was stolen during the revolution. I really was impressed with how beautiful the diamond is.

  • Comment by sam — November 27, 2009 @ 3:05 PM

    shes the famous queen..even though i already read the book i always watching the film by Sofia Coppola even she changed the last part in it she was not beheaded they just escape the Versailles..

  • Comment by sam — November 27, 2009 @ 3:07 PM

    im just wandering wheres now the necklace??and her glamorous gowns..?shes living with extravagance..

  • Comment by alyssa — December 21, 2009 @ 6:22 AM

    thaanks for the information :)

  • Comment by fox — January 4, 2010 @ 12:16 PM

    It helped me with my paper to

  • Comment by Jen Johnson — January 11, 2010 @ 7:48 AM

    I enjoyed this retelling of her life and death. I have just watched the movie by Sofia Coppola. I thought it was beautifully made. I do wish that it would have went further into the scandle and death of the Queen.

    I think that she was very young and had many obsticles facing her in her roll as the Future Queen and then as the Queen of France. I think she was blamed for the transgressions of others.

    A very interesting person in history.

  • Comment by cody — January 14, 2010 @ 1:45 AM

    wow great telling.personally i am obsessed with marie antoinette.but sometimes i wonder if she really was the wrongly accused beautiful and sweet queen, or if she was evil and vindictive as lamotte claimed.i belive she was just extremely unlucky.everyone watch the 1st marie antoinette in black and white with Norma Shearer

  • Comment by janine quinlan — January 17, 2010 @ 9:18 AM

    I would love to see that. I have yet to see the S. Coppola Version.
    She was wrongly accused of sexually abusing her son. There are no accounts of this since everybody and anybody were allowed in her chambers, even while giving birth.

    She was also accused of stealing money and sending it to Austria which did not occur as she likely didnt actually have access to fund to do so. She was house, furniture and clothing poor. Louis would have had to give her the money which he would not have done.

    She allegedly had an affair with a longtime friend which started when the king would not consumate their marriage for over 7 years. So you blame her if she did?

  • Comment by Ann — February 1, 2010 @ 5:41 AM

    Very good account. Lamotte what a bitch? Did she ever repent her vileness? I wonder why she really hated the Queen, when did it start and how it was fueled?

  • Comment by belinda — February 6, 2010 @ 7:44 AM

    Very good account of information. I just watched the Coppala movie and it is not as detailed but then she does explain in the behind the sceens that it’s just her vision of Marie Antionette. Extremely interting,detailed website/article.

    The misinformation and proganda that lead to her demise and her families was started by Lamotte and her greediness. It’s not fair that someone with such good morals,high standards and great queen could die in such a way and that the deceiver could go on to live an extravagant life style.

  • Comment by Eliana — February 26, 2010 @ 12:27 PM

    woooow! ive learned so much! i am exremely interested in this topic. ive learned about it in a video game and wanted to know if it was true or not. (parts of it was) Thank you for this.it has helpd alot for my research paper! i wonder if any guys hav read this… ( random much? lol ) wait. cody, i completly agree w u. i wonder if she was as evil as every1 thought or if she rlly was just a wrongly accusd beautiful lady (which othr chicks were jealous of). a mystery is wat Marie is. i also wonder if there is a dairy so ppl couldve seen wat her life was like. Wat SHE was like.
    -13 , Eliana

  • Comment by Anastasia — March 5, 2010 @ 8:31 AM

    I played that video game too! Haha
    thanks so much for the information, you pretty much saved my life on a history paper I’m writing! Impressed that it was impartial
    -stacy

  • Comment by anadika — April 7, 2010 @ 11:38 PM

    Marie was really dumb but stylish

  • Comment by roze — April 8, 2010 @ 6:16 AM

    It is a very nice telling. thank you, i benefited and enjoyed reading it.i am happy all the time it took to read was fruitful. thank you very very much.

  • Comment by linda — April 29, 2010 @ 4:25 PM

    just watched the movie with Hilary Swank (the affair of the necklace) loved it but the movie did not totally follow the above bio but then hollywood had to add a bit of juice

  • Comment by Marianette — June 15, 2010 @ 8:57 PM

    One word: WOW :)

  • Comment by Natalie — July 27, 2010 @ 7:50 AM

    I think you need to change and update this whole post. For one Marie Antoinette att the age of fourteen, on the day of her marriage to Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, she became Dauphine de France. She became Queen of France and Navarre in May 1774 at the age of 19. She had five children on 19 December 1778 Marie-Thérèse Charlotte first child and eldest daughter and the only Serviver of the immediate Royal Family to survive the French Revolution . She was also Queen of France for twenty minutes, in 1830 do to her husband and cousin. Then the was a discovery in there was a pregnancy in 1779. The memoirs of the queen’s lady-in-waiting, Madame Campan, state explicitly that the miscarriage came about after the queen exerted herself too strenuously in closing a window in her carriage, felt that she had hurt herself, and lost the child eight days later do to still birth. Campan adds that the king spent a morning consoling the queen at her bedside, and swore to secrecy all those who were aware of the accident. She also gave birth to Louis-Joseph-Xavier-François in 1781 and Louis-Charles in 1785, and a younger sister, Sophie-Hélène-Béatrix in 1786. It was also dicovered that Louis XVI of France her husband did not have any kind of surgery. did not receive the surgery. The Dauphine’s doctor, Jean-Marie Lassonne, examining the Dauphin in 1773, found him to be “well made”, and judged that the problem was one of “clumsiness and ignorance”.[9] This incident was followed several months later by the above-mentioned consummation of July 1773.[5] In addition, there is no record of the King’s receiving surgery, or of his spending several weeks convalescing, as would have been necessary. The fact that his hunting journals show no such break in activity, despite the impossibility of his sitting in a saddle for several weeks after such an operation, strongly suggests that he did not in fact have the surgery.[11]

    It has also been suggested, although her mother Maria-Theresa insisted otherwise, that the biological hindrance lay with Marie-Antoinette. Medical correspondence of the time stated that, though inexperienced, Louis was simply “too much of a gentleman” to bring himself to impregnate his young and slender mate. Some sources suggest that it was Marie-Antoinette who underwent some minor surgical operation, to relive her vaginal tightness, which then enabled the royal couple to consummate their union.[12]

    The true cause of the couple’s infertility might have been revealed in a letter written by Marie-Antoinette’s brother, Joseph II, to their other brother, Leopold II. In April 1777. Joseph visited Louis and Marie-Antoinette in France, and he had a frank talk with both of them regarding sexual matters. From this, he discovered that the King mated with his wife from a sense of royal duty rather than for the sexual pleasure. There was no problem with the King’s sexual organs: Joseph wrote, “he has strong perfectly satisfactory erections”, and “he sometimes has night-time emissions”. Their problem was reportedly that when the King and Queen had sexual intercourse, “he introduces the member, stays there without moving for about two minutes, withdraws without ejaculating but still erect, and bids goodnight…when he is inside and going at it…[ejaculation] never happens.” In the Emperor’s opinion, this couple consisted of “two complete blunderers”, who had nothing wrong with them aside from lack of sexual knowledge and meaningful desire to mate.[13]

    Joseph, it would appear, remedied the couple’s ignorance during his conversations with the two of them. By August, the marriage was finally consummated, and the pair had thanked him for his advice, to which they attributed the consummation.

    I am a Professor of French History. I think you should update and change this post because you are giving out false information.

  • Comment by Clare — July 27, 2010 @ 8:23 AM

    Thank you for your comments, this is your opinion, the article, specifically about the Diamond Necklace Affair, is the opinion of its author. Perhaps you would care to read the other articles on the site or join the forum if you wish to discuss these matters further?

  • Comment by Marc Louis LeRoux — July 27, 2010 @ 8:48 AM

    To the professor of French history. I have reason to disbelieve your claim as a professor of history, because your details are correct. However, I am surprised at your poor spelling ability. Is it possible to become a professor (where) with such a deficit? Or do let us know if English is your second language.

  • Comment by Marc Louis LeRoux — July 27, 2010 @ 8:55 AM

    I was reluctant to post this, but it is true – I had a great aunt whose first name was Marie Antoinette. Many ancestor males are named Louis and it is my middle name. In the years before I knew so much, I was still fascinated by this unfortunate queen. As I study history more (decades) I have come to feel a great sadness whenever the subject of the French Revolution comes up. It was such a horrible waste. It also seems to have begun a modern epic of uprisings, the excesses of which found their (hopefully) final expressions in Stalinist and Maoist purges in the 20th century. Today, French students riot at the drop of a hat. There seems to be a trained in reflex for mayhem built into French culture. That has been seized upon by some of their immigrants, who are now taking it to new dimensions. Violence is never good, but such excesses also create negative “traditions.”

  • Comment by Michael c — August 11, 2010 @ 11:08 AM

    Thank you for this account of France before the official revolution.
    What I heard on a PBS special is that the queen in her situation
    of public humiliation and being defenseless (she was pelted with rotted
    and rotting vegetables while bound in the open cart) showed no emotion
    except a plain,perhaps slightly serene expression, on her way to
    the site that where she was beheaded. This woman was worthy
    of great position in life and was not arrogant if you ask me.
    While all events in one’s life can exhibit character and then rated as
    high or low character by others, it is telling of one’s character, in
    my opinion, at a profound level of geniuneness, when a man or woman
    is about to be executed and shamed by individuals living in the same
    country as the individual in question.

  • Comment by Lauren Marie — October 10, 2010 @ 12:41 AM

    Thank you for the information and details of this story,
    As a lingerie designer it has given me great inspiration for a new collection. Characterisation is going to be a key element in this for me, aswell as further research into historical facts on this story :) something for me to be excited about.

  • Comment by Hannah Chiu — October 10, 2010 @ 2:50 PM

    While I have no sympathy for Marie Antoinette and her extravagant lifestyle, I cannot justify Countess de Lamotte and Cardinal Rohan’s actions, why? Countess de Lamotte lied and stole just to have money, she is possibly one of the reasons the French Revolution began. Cardinal Rohan was a male, theoretically in those sexist times, he should have been smart enough to realize that he was beguiled by one of the most treacherous woman in all of history. Countess de Lamotte went to Marie Antoinette for money, when the queen took no notice of her, she besmirched the queen’s name and lied about her encounters with her, when the queen, in reality, had no idea until the scandal about her. Thankfully, she died two years before Marie Antoinette’s own beheading.

  • Comment by Kim — October 19, 2010 @ 10:20 PM

    The writing in this story is terrible. It contains run-on sentences, misused words, and is lacking proper punctuation. There is a run-on sentence in the opening paragraph that simply gave me a headache. The section titled The Swindler switches between past and present tense. The queen wasn’t “meeting” out punishment but rather “meting”. “Road” is a noun, not a verb – you mean “rode”.

    In an attempt to sound more intelligent, you have only succeeded in shaming yourself. Please carefully re-read the story and make necessary corrections if you are going to continue to make this available to the public. If English is not your first language, have the story proofread by someone.

  • Comment by Clare — October 19, 2010 @ 10:53 PM

    Kim, your comment is nothing more than a pedantic rant about language. There is no shame for the author of this article, nor did the author compose it with a view to appearing intelligent. Did you understand the content of the article? I dare say you did. In an attempt to sound more intelligent, you have only succeeded in priggishness. Please come back when you’ve got something substantive to contribute.

  • Comment by Kim — October 20, 2010 @ 11:46 AM

    Clare: I’m sorry that you think the author didn’t want to appear intelligent. Clearly you are defending either yourself or a friend; a noble effort on your part, however writing what contends to be a scholarly article used to imply that the author was educated in more than the subject at hand. Any high school graduate should know the difference between “rode” and “road”, as well as proper use of punctuation. By allowing poorly written essays such as this, regardless how clear their content, to be published in any medium, we are encouraging the continued decay of the English language. Knowing the subject does not excuse the author from conveying it appropriately. If the author takes pride in his/her research, he/she should also take pride in how it is reported.

  • Comment by Clare — October 20, 2010 @ 12:17 PM

    I am not the author. I maintain this website because I am interested in the subject, the author prefers to remain anonymous and has allowed the article to appear on the site to prompt discussion of the subject matter and to share their interest with other like-minded people. I did not say that the author does not wish to appear intelligent, I said that the article was not written with a view to appearing intelligent. On second thoughts however it’s not really a matter of “appearing” intelligent is it? But as I intimated in my original response, it would seem to me that you are more concerned with appearances than with anything of substance.

    Where does the article purport to be scholarly? In fact it is expressly stated on the about page that the articles on this website are not to be viewed as such. I quote from that page

    “The Marie Antoinette Online website has been online in one form or another for over 10 years. It began life as a collaboration between two individuals interested in the life and times of the famous Queen. Since then it has grown to include a forum and discussion about Marie Antoinette from a range of people including Marie Antoinette scholars, writers and those of us who are simply interested in and fascinated by Marie Antoinette as a woman and the France that she ruled over. …

    Many students visit our site as part of their explorations of Marie Antoinette for school projects right through to college and university papers. Please keep in mind that this is not an academic website. The content is written from the personal perspective of the authors who have offered us their contributions and we make no claims to academic rigor here. We recommend it as a great place for starting out your Marie Antoinette research, for figuring out what questions about her life and times you are most interested in and which controversies you think need further exploration. We strongly recommend that you seek out other sources, particularly primary source documents, paintings and illustrations, but also academic articles and texts to support the work you are doing for your assignments, projects and essays. You will find recommended books both here on the site and in the forum and links to other great resources which are more appropriate for academic research.”

    So, to reiterate, unless you’ve something substantive to discuss, buzz off.

  • Comment by Lemercier duQuesnay — November 22, 2010 @ 8:11 AM

    I suggest the author submit screenplays to Hollywood. Our Queen’s life was vastly different than the fabrication on this site.

  • Comment by Leroy Becker, Executive Director, Historical Figures Foundation — December 15, 2010 @ 4:24 AM

    Excellent review!

    George Stuart’s vision of the necklace and the players are in the French Group of our website. Here is one image –

    http://www.galleryhistoricalfigures.com/Figurefull.php?abvrname=CntsLaMotteNeck

  • Comment by mariajon — February 11, 2011 @ 7:10 PM

    Oh my God! These elegant jewelry are genuinely for soigne people like royalties! It was a superb necklace. Every woman would wish to be a royal blooded just to experience this kind of pleasures. I wish I’m also a queen. Living in luxurious place and wearing precious stones is every woman’s dream. Sigh.

  • Comment by beth — February 26, 2011 @ 5:14 AM

    I agree with Clare about the horrendous butchering of the English language and spelling in the comments. I am seeing this more and more frequently and I fear we are becoming a nation of ignoramuses.
    I wonder why people who can’t speak any better have any interest in French history.

  • Comment by michelle — March 30, 2011 @ 7:44 AM

    I am doing a research paper for my history class and this entire website has been very helpful.

  • Comment by Stephan C. Drew — April 1, 2011 @ 3:36 AM

    [Edited for relevance]

    The article (whether fact-based or not) was fascinating, lively, and creative. I am descended from Drago of Mantes (henchman for William the Conqueror — Duke William of Normandy) and have a family history which dates back to 854 A.D. My ancestors owned what is referred to as “the Vexin”, a valuable but small spot of land about 20 miles from Paris. However, because of his usefulness in assassinating William’s English enemies (after the invasion of England), Drago (or Drogo) was awarded 72 manors/estates in England alone! (refered to in The Doomsday Book). My fascination with French history has never lagged & Marie Antoinette was someone I never tire of learning about. Keep up the good work!

  • Comment by Greg May — April 17, 2011 @ 12:38 AM

    MARIE ANTOINETTE is my heroine in history. It’s interesting that there aren’t that many movies and films about her. The modern film by SOFIA COPPOLA was a joke! Ms. Coppola should stay away from biographical epics. The BEST movie ever amde about the Queen of France was the 1938 MGM tear-jerker starring NORMA SHEARER and TYRONE POWER. This film was highly underrated – it bombed at the box office and was never show in theatres again after its 1938 premier. But when MGM sold its film stock to television in the 1950′s a new generation got to meet the Queen. This film was the most expensive movie ever made by MGM until THE WIZARD OF OZ.

  • Comment by Mia — May 7, 2011 @ 4:43 AM

    This article was fantastic, and has helped me greatly with my graduation project. I thank the people of this website for dedicating themselves for finding and displaying the most accurate information possible.
    One thing that bothers me is the constant criticism over the Sophia Coppola film. Many of you seem to be forgetting that it was meant to be an EMOTIONAL insight into the queen’s life. Never would I ever use the film for any school report, but I do respect it. If you want a POLITICAL exploration, go watch a documentary. I personally believe that it humanized her, but I digress…
    Once again, thank you for this article.

  • Comment by Mariano — June 7, 2011 @ 6:10 PM

    In ancient Egyot, Queen Hatsepsut had to dress like a man in order to act as the Pharoah. St. Joan of Arc had to handle a lance and a sword in order to be believed as the leader of France in their fight to free France from the clutches of the invaders.Definitely, the French under Queen Marie Antoinette cannot take it upon themselves that she will starve her people and leave them impoverished and undignified! Cutting heads through guillotine may be barbaric but that taught the French a painful lesson in governance!

  • Comment by SHAI — June 19, 2011 @ 1:12 PM

    hai
    i need help of this questing

    IF YOU WERE THE HUSBAND WOULD YOU HAVEDONE THE SAME?

  • Comment by rash — July 15, 2011 @ 2:25 PM

    Thank you for the information. Well told and nicely presented.
    I do find Marie Antoinette an interesting figure to learn about (and I am not writing any papers or doing research). She somehow reminds me of Diana, both of them had an ‘unfortunate’ early marriage life, enjoyed the glamarous peaks of their lives and died a traggic death. Except Diana did charity work and Marie Antoinette let her people starve. ‘Let them eat cake!’

  • Comment by rash — July 15, 2011 @ 2:29 PM

    To Greg May
    I do believe there’s a movie about her played by Kirsten Dunst. I’ve just re-watched it recently

  • Comment by Greg May — July 29, 2011 @ 12:54 AM

    Rash, that film where the Queen was portrayed by Kirsten Dunst was the one produced by Sofia Coppola. Don’t you think it ended too abruptly? Did you know poor Marie Antoinette lost control of her bowels while on the way to the guillotine? She had to beg her executioner, Henri Sanson, to untie her hands so she could relieve herself.

  • Comment by mboyd — August 17, 2011 @ 9:39 AM

    To Natalie “The English Professor”
    Copy and Paste much? Those numbers that appear at the end of your paragraphs are for for footnotes (citations). If you are indeed an “English Professor” then surely you know all about plagerism. Posts are for original ideas and thoughts. Do you make cheat sheets too?

  • Comment by eliza — August 21, 2011 @ 2:56 AM

    ok, mia, the sofia coppola film on marie antoinette says on the back its a chick flick, not an emotional thing, and its not emotional, it’s as bad as the libels, because it’s publisizing untrue rumors about somebody who was what everyone seems to be forgetting, a real person, just like everyone else. if you were maried to your cousin at the age of fourteen and had to live in a completely different country with a completelly different culture how would you feel? i know i probably sound kind of mean, but i greatly believe that marie antoinette was completelly miss understood through out her life, and so yes, she had a lot of money at her disposal, so she did what anyone would do and used it, and then it became her way of escaping all the things people were saying about her, because by spending her time making herself beautiful she wouldnt have to listen to what people were saying about her.
    also, this website has let complete crap missuse of information be published, and its unfair to the memory of marie antoinette, i am thirteen and i know more than the person who wrote this, how sad is that?
    i think what the world needs is, (this is going to sound like the ramblings of a silly teenage girl, but thats what i am so), to find a diary of marie antoinette buried somewhere so they can here her side, because i know for a fact that if people are talking about me in two hundred years (which i hope they are, cos i plan to be a historical writer), i would want it to be in a good way! and the s p film (sp sofia coppola, or stupid pathetic?) yes, it was a bloddy stupid chick flick, but the politics they did put in should at least have been correct, and why are there no political films about marie antoinette? and for the record, nobody should make a chick flick about somebody who gets there head chopped of, does anybody have a concience these days? also, they should have ended it so that the underknowledged film watchers should at least know how her life ends! and they should have got an actor for count ferson who had a small face and should have been wearing a white wig, but know, they couldnt even get that right because know one would simpathize with the lies made up about their main character if people looked how they actually did.

  • Comment by Amy Tinlin — October 10, 2011 @ 6:21 PM

    Awesome Submission… and reflects great insights on the whole history. I Believe Marie Antoinette was one of those most eye-catching figures… so tragic in the end.I believe the was history enthralling and thanking you for such throughout research and easily understanding stuff.

  • Comment by Cathy — October 21, 2011 @ 10:33 AM

    Great read! Back in the sixties I did a report on Marie Antoinette for my junior high history class. This lady has always intrigued me.

  • Comment by Joe — October 31, 2011 @ 12:45 PM

    Thanks! This helped me with my research project!

  • Comment by DanaS — February 18, 2012 @ 9:41 AM

    The story is lovely. Perhaps some of the inconsistencies in grammar or spelling come from a difference in the language spoken by those who submit articles and/or comments? It is often difficult to transition from one to the other with perfect fluidity. After all, there are a great deal of nations interested in French history, not just English and French speaking ones.

  • Comment by Elena — February 22, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

    Hi.
    I appreciate you for posting this useful content. Keep posting:-)

  • Comment by ray n — March 21, 2012 @ 5:10 PM

    I’ve only very recently took on a very keen interest on the life and times of Marie-Antoinette. It all started after I watched Sofia’s work. Now, before the e-vultures come and attack my attribution, I initially thought Sofia’s production was lame. I “attempted” to watch her movie back in ’07, but couldn’t fathom the music with the period piece. After about 30 minutes or so, I turned it off.

    5 years later(i.e last night), oddly enough, out of the blue I decided to give that movie another go. This time the movie went 120 minutes, and I was completely captured by it. In fact, I’ve seen it THREE times – in a row. The movie was her interpretation of the novel by Fraser.

    Perplexed by everything, I started reading all materials surrounding the story/setting/piece/historical accounts/accuracy/fact & fiction.

    Most articles I’ve come across attributed the sacking of the Bastille & the Women’s March as the primary turning points of the Revolution.

    The story about the diamond necklace was something I did not knew about, until I stumbled upon this website.

    I think the author has made a very valid argument about how the diamond necklace was the real catalyst behind the revolution.

    I now wish to visit the Versailles ! No, I’m not a royalist supporter, nor am I a buorgeoise by any stretch of imagination. In fact, I consider Ernesto Guevara to be a true people’s hero (with some needed captions to clarify his life’s later decisions…)

    With all that said, and what I’ve read so far about Marie-Antoinette, I am sympathetic for her.

    Today’s corporate world can learn a lot from the events that lead to the French revolution.

    Keep up the good work. Any web forum will attract the usual defractors and nay-sayers, but to keep a website running for 10 years is dedication. Just wanted to acknowledge that.

    Cheers!

    ~r

  • Comment by Rusty Shackleford — April 19, 2012 @ 12:34 PM

    hey how do you cite this website?

  • Comment by dauphiine — May 3, 2012 @ 3:16 AM

    Your blog is amazing! Where did you find a picture of infamous necklace in color.

  • Comment by Kayla — May 8, 2012 @ 8:57 AM

    Thank you for this it helped with my paper also and now I know more

  • Comment by Kristina — June 5, 2012 @ 5:30 PM

    What I think people should understand, and this site obviously means to do, is give insight into a time period that is greatly debated about. History isn’t about dates and events. It’s about how a single human emotion can shape not only that person’s life, or the people around them, it can change an entire nation. It can lead to a debate hundreds of years later.

    I beg, all of you, to understand that anger, frustration, ignorance, selfishness, fear, and above all else hope can trigger so much. Marie Antoinette was ruled by emotions. In her position, especially given the era she lived in, could show that. The only way to keep herself from exploding was to ignore those feelings. The feeling of useless at not being able to consummate her marriage, not to mention conceiving a child who is the be heir of France. The feeling of shame and disappointment at those same things. Women, especially royal women, were raised with the single purpose of being a figure head that pops out a male heir so as to secure a tie to the crown. She wasn’t able to do that. The only way to deal with those emotions, was to find someway to ignore them. If that meant spending vast amounts of money or having multiple love affairs… then so be it. She was a human being. She was a person, not a robot. In that day and age, she did what she had to keep herself from going crazy. Though she had a taste for opulence, in her later years, after the marriage had been consummated, and a male heir produced, she toned down her spending, and tried her best to fix the mistakes she had made. She was dealt a horrible hand. Her purpose in life was to be the cause of the French Revolution.

    From the day that she was born, it was destined to happen. She was a woman born and bred for the day she got beheaded. Her elegance, grace, and poise carried her through. So she possibly shit herself on the way to be beheaded… wouldn’t you? She was only human.

    Her impact on the world can be viewed as both positive and negative. The point is that, while she was alive, she made a statement. She changed a nation. No matter how unknowingly, she did it. What have you done? You’ve written comments on a blog about how silly she was. Congratulations. Maybe you should take some of that negative energy, and try to change the world. For better or for worse, do something.

    If someone is talking about you in 200 years, I’ll apologize, but chances are, they won’t be.

    Good or bad, Marie Antoinette made an impact, not only on her country, but people around the world, and to this day, she is still being talked about. So consider this when you want to bitch about a monarch… have you changed to world?

  • Comment by Karen — August 25, 2012 @ 8:51 AM

    I have become fascinated with Marie Antoinette and all things attached to her.I have just finished reading the history text book by Antonia Fraser.I have learned so much about her story.Very tragic story. I am saving to travel to France and visit all things Marie Antoinette.Beside Versailles and The Petit Trianon does anyone have any suggestions where else to visit.I love this website and find it so informative.It is in my favourites. Thank you to the author.To all the people on here bitching about grammar and spelling, TAKE A CHILL PILL AND RELAX!

  • Comment by j.g — November 8, 2012 @ 8:06 AM

    thank giddy god you were here to help with my paper, only place on the internet that doesn’t just cover the story but tell you the significance and what it did to the reputations of the royals, so well written. 10/10

  • Comment by Lucy — November 17, 2012 @ 12:09 AM

    Kristina, I think this is a very immature comment to have made. First of all you say that history isn’t all about dates and events. No, I agree with that. But surely you will accept that the dates and events that are used should at least be correct? I also agree with you that we have to look at Marie Antoinette for who she was: a human being. I can understand that, under her circumstances she can perhaps be partly absolved of blame for her actions. However, when you ask, “have you changed the world?” perhaps you need to think about what you’re saying. Marie-Antoinette was born into privilege and purely through her status and the fact that she married a French Dauphin meant that she was always going to be featuring in history books. Now, the fact that she had absolutely no awareness of reality outside her sheltered palace walls and her disgusting extravagance while the people of France were living in poverty simply cannot be praised. Yes, she changed the world, but very, very easily for someone in that situation. In fact, any Queen of France could find it easy to change the world for better or for worse. If any one of the people commenting here had the opportunity she had in being Queen of France, we probably could have mucked it up just as well as she did and changed the world in just the same way that she did. If all it took to change the world was to be utterly incompetent in a position of power, then I think many of us could find it extremely easy indeed.

  • Comment by Kenda — December 7, 2012 @ 8:30 AM

    i love Marie Antoinette,shes interesting to learn about.

  • Comment by Bailey — March 3, 2013 @ 12:37 PM

    Thankyou so much! I have a huge essay due on this topic and this is extremely accurate and helpful! Now I have to find out how to turn this into a 6 page research paper by Monday. Ahh the joys of being in IB.

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